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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- June 22, 2023


Supply Chain by the Numbers for June 22, 2023


US Truck Tonnage Rises in May; Port of LA Wants to Gain Back Share; US Manufacturing Output Weak in May; Amazon Closing Many Go Convenience Stores



That was the rise in the monthly freight tonnage index from the American Trucking Associations versus April, the trade group reported this week. That follows two months of declines, and is a bullish sign for the overall economy. However, on a year-over-year basis, the ATA index decreased 1.3%, which was the third straight year-over-year decline. “Tonnage had a nice gain in May, but remains in recession territory,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The 2.4% gain didn’t erase the 4.5% total drop the previous two months. Additionally, tonnage continues to contract from year earlier levels as retail sales remain soft, manufacturing production continues to fall from a year ago, and housing starts contract from 2022 levels.”



That was the year-over-year decline in the amount of containers coming through the port of Los Angeles in May, according to Executive Director Gene Seroka last week. Container volume is also running at 15% lower than the five-year average. Seroka and other experts blame a large part of that drop on importers moving to East and Gulf coast ports out of fear port delays and even shutdowns this summer over an impasse in negotiations between dock workers and the ports. But it appears an agreement on a new six-year contract has been reached – and with that new contract, the ports of LA and Long Beach say they are going to fight hard to win back share. But it will not be easy.





That was the level of the US Manufacturing Output index for May as reported late last week as usual each month by the Federal Reserve Bank (2017 = 100). That was almost flat with April’s reading of 100. The index was down 3% versus May of 2022. So US manufacturing is basically flat in recent months, not great, but not recession-like either. Still, with a score of 100.1 for the month, it means output is about the same as in the baseline year of 2017 now six years later, and well below the all-time high of 108 in 2007.




That’s about how many of its Go convenience stores that Amazons has shuttered this year, after announcing it has recently closed four of the cashier-less store formats in downtown Seattle. Earlier this year, Amazon closed two other convenience stores in the city. In addition, Amazon closed two Go stores in New York City and four in San Francisco. Is the concept in trouble? Spokesperson Jessica Martin said this week that Amazon still operates 20 Go stores across the US and looks “forward to opening more in the future.” We’ll see on that one.

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